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Renovating your home is the perfect way to get the house of your dreams without uprooting your life. It can also be a lot cheaper than moving. The trouble is, you still need a sizeable fund. In this guide, you’ll find our advice on how to borrow money for your home improvements.
While our experts can’t teach you how to plaster a wall, we can offer independent and impartial advice on how to finance your home improvements using the equity locked in your home. Below, we explain some of the simplest ways you can fund home improvements.
You’re likely to have a budget in mind for your project – but is it realistic? Before you start, make sure you get a handful of quotes from tradesmen, research the materials and tools you’ll need and think about the way you want to furnish your home. Once you’re all costed up, you can start securing the money.
You can fund projects at £10,000 and below without using any home equity. You could consider taking out a personal loan for home improvements, which is normally just an unsecured loan you borrow for the specific purpose of improving your property. Or perhaps you could think about applying for a 0% credit card that has a high enough credit limit – these can sometimes be a lot more straight-forward for smaller projects.
But, be aware: if you plan to consolidate these debts into your mortgage further down the road, you may fall foul of the terms and conditions of your mortgage at that time as not all lenders will allow a further advance/remortgage for debt consolidation. We also recommend that you speak to a financial adviser about whether it’s the right thing to do, before making any big decisions.
Taking out an unsecured home improvement loan allows you to finance your home improvements via fixed payments, which you typically repay over 1 - 7 years.
If you’ve got bigger plans, then you may need to release some of the equity in your home, so you can secure a larger loan.
The amount of equity you have is the current market value of your home minus any outstanding mortgage owed. Your home equity usually changes the longer you own your property. If you’ve owned your home for a few years, it’s likely it may have increased in value. Furthermore, you could have paid off some of your mortgage in that time – these changes will likely result in an increase in your home’s equity.
You buy your home for £300,000, you borrow £270,000 with a £30,000 deposit
Your home equity is £30,000, 10% of the initial property price
Fast forward five years and your home is now worth £350,000. You’ve also paid off £40,000 of your mortgage.
As you now have more equity in your home, you could borrow more against it which could help you pay for your renovations. This will depend on how much you can actually afford to borrow based on incomes and expenditures.
A good way to think of a further advance is as a top up on your existing mortgage.
Unlike remortgaging, you stick with the same lender and the terms of your original mortgage might not change. However, it’s likely you’ll end up paying 2 rates. The first will remain the same, as it’s based on your existing mortgage repayments and the second will be a different rate on the extra money you’ve borrowed which is usually a smaller amount.
The rate of interest on the additional money you borrow may be more or less than your existing mortgage. It can also be fixed or variable. We advise that you make note of when any early repayment penalty period ends, especially if this doesn’t coincide with the end date of your original mortgage product.
If the fixed rate period of your mortgage doesn’t coincide with the fixed rate on your further advance, you ought to prepare yourself for the rate on one or the other - and possibly your monthly payments - to change to the standard variable rate.
Many people take out remortgages for their home improvements. It’s another way you can use your home equity to finance work on your property.
The amount you borrow will be determined by:
A second charge is a form of secured loan. It’s a different way for you to use the equity in your home to fund home improvements. A second charge is like a second mortgage as you use a different lender.
Second charges are usually more suitable if your existing lender won’t let you borrow the amount you need under your current mortgage arrangement. They might also be suitable if you’re currently on an interest-only mortgage and are unable to borrow any more without making major alterations to your current mortgage arrangements.
Like a further advance or remortgage, the amount you can borrow on a second charge depends on how much equity you have in your home and the lender’s affordability calculation.
The rate on a second charge may be higher than the rate on your existing mortgage, however it’s normally lower than the rates you’d find on an unsecured loan or the standard rates on most credit cards. Repayments are also often spread over a far longer period than those on unsecured loans - whether this is an advantage or disadvantage depends on your circumstances.
A second charge may be attractive to those who don’t want to lose their current rate by remortgaging but can’t borrow any more from their current lender.